Friday 27 May 2016


Mike Skinner and Manchester-based music and arts collective Murkage and Branko, the driving creative force in Buraka Som Sistema, are among the first names joining the Red Bull Music Academy stage at Positivus Festival. The Saturday line-up also includes Smthing Smthing, Mario Moretti, NiklāvZ, Dave Storm & Stee Downes, Fingalic & Vaiper, Cartoon and MHKL & Quest.

This under-the radar party is run by one Mike Skinner and Manchester-based music and arts collective Murkage (which frequently works with top grime producers and MCs). Formerly held at the Victoria in Dalston, Tonga has found a new home in Stoke Newington’s The Waiting Room, but the vibe is still the same: intimate and occasionally wild.

Joao Barbosa AKA Branko first became known on the international scene as the driving creative force in Buraka Som Sistema, the worldwide phenomenon whose releases helped create a new attitude towards global sounds. The seminal collective is responsible for reshaping dance music culture and spawning a myriad of sub- genres that shaped theGlobal Club Music scene and were championed by the producer’s label Enchufada.

Branko’s solo work has included several singles, a mixtape and an EP, featuring collaborations with Zebra Katz, Roses Gabor, Dominique Young Unique and Njena Redfoxx, but 2015 saw him taking on his most ambitious project to date. Challenging the notion that “everything has already been discovered,” Branko embarked, in partnership with Red Bull, on a musical journey across the globe, diving into some of the most vibrant music scenes today to meet and work with a new generation of artists. Traveling with a film crew he visited Capetown, Amsterdam, Sao Paulo, and New York before finally returning to Lisbon, taking in the local sights and sounds and heading in to the studio to work with local artists. The end result is his debut full-length album, ‘ATLAS’, and a five episode web series featuring his travels. Viewers and listeners will be exposed to a whole new wave of crucial artists who are creating today’s most innovative music.

Smthing Smthing is a new electronic soul project out of Estonia that features vocalist Pille-Riin Karro and producer and the driving force behind the music DJ Quest. Live performances adds to the duo a band playing on guitar and on bass. Their sound is mainly influenced by RnB, neo-soul, hip-hop and electronica of the 1990s and early 2000s, with a little modern Nordic / Baltic twist.

The background of academic music education has allowed DJ Quest to discover the magic of music synthesis and explore the popular culture and made him one of the leading DJs in Estonia. DJ Quest is one of the few Estonians that have taken part in the Red Bull Music Academy Master classes and he owns a record label. Sets by DJ Quest are based on hip-hop technical skills in combination with academic knowledge – he blends together almost all known music styles by drifting and mixing various genres and by that creates music that can touch souls and simply make dance.

Three producers from Estonia that separately had been active in music world for years formed the project Cartoon in 2015. Cartoon combined their individual experiences in different genres and areas of music and within six months Cartoon got a loyal following, millions of views on YouTube and hundreds of thousands of plays on Spotify; SoundCloud. The undeniable evidence of success is the fact that all of Cartoon’s singles have been number ones on the Estonian radio charts.

Dave Storm – a DJ, producer, label and club owner – has made his way to the hearts of house music fans not only in his native country Estonia, but thanks to his production, all over the world. Storm has performed in the biggest clubs of Europe as well as in small underground venues even in South Africa. Dave likes to play a wide selection of house music starting with deep disco and house, ending with acid or tech house. The music he plays is chosen depending on the place and mood of the crowd – it can be atmospheric, catchy or even sexy and exciting, but the result will always be thrilling!

In his songs Fingalic combines electronic music with contemporary R’n’B vocals and explores emotions, addictions and technology while creating melodies that are suitable both for a bedroom or dance floor. Fingalick is also a member of a post-indie-wave-rock band called Without Letters, where he’s responsible for everything hardware and software. On the Red Bull Music Academy stage Fingalic will perform with the DJ heavyweight of Baltic urban Music, Vaiper Despotin, as the duo will represent the unique sound of Baltic rap and R’n’B.

Moretti was still a youngster when he started to attend music school where a teacher introduced him Juno-106, DX7 etc. as well as several Soviet synths like Venta, Elektronika etc. When he was left alone in the class he would rather twist knobs and move sliders making weird sounds instead of playing boring academic pieces. Moretti is creating music since 2004 and has been significantly influenced by Italian disco and inspired by CBS The Hague scene.

NiklāvZ (born as Niklāvs Sekačs) is a producer, DJ, songwriter and a New Media Arts student from Liepāja, Latvia. One could say that his style of music is universal, but it’s mostly based on electronic music, either bass music with hip- hop elements or futuristic music. NiklāvZ has worked with the biggest hip-hop names in Baltics, like Despotin Fam (LT), Tommy Cash (EE), Ozols (LV) and many more. Currently NiklāvZ is working on his new EP, which will be released by Dirty Deal Audio in autumn.